Two years later, I decided to start medical transition with hormones.
I realised that I needed to take the first stage of this journey away from the pressures of my role and how my colleagues had known me.
My psychologist certified that I was "not medically fit for work" for 4 to 6 weeks, which allowed me to take leave under ANZ’s wellness policy.
This period gave my colleagues and friends time to get accustomed to the decision I had made, and get used to the idea of who I would be going forward.
Part of my decision to bring my body closer to the person I am has also involved surgeries. To do this I took both annual and sick leave.
While I was fortunate to be able to come out at work - to have the time to do what I needed to become the man I am today - using sick leave to do this created extra stress for me.
My partner and I relied on my income, and I worried that if I took sick leave for my surgeries, and then later got sick, I'd have to choose between coming to work when I was unwell and getting paid, or staying home to recover without pay.
Not everyone goes down a physical transition route. There are many ways individuals may affirm their gender, and this is what makes it personal for everyone: you get to do it in your own way and in your own time.
But whatever people choose, to become their true selves, they need to be supported and have the opportunity to take time away from work.
ANZ's paid gender affirmation leave policy provides just that. It’s a positive step and helps destigmatise the medical treatments some transgender and gender fluid staff decide to have.
The bank has introduced six weeks of paid gender affirmation leave, and up to 12 months’ unpaid leave, for employees in New Zealand and Australia to cover circumstances where staff are taking steps to transition to another gender.
This means we can keep our sick leave for times we are actually sick and importantly it means that transitioning is no longer classified as a 'sickness'.
When we are able to be our authentic selves at work we are more productive and engaged with our teams and colleagues.
I have been with ANZ for almost 21 years and I am not planning to look for another job – at least not in the near future.
I do sometimes worry that if I had to find a new job, a future employer could ask me about the period of time I was "medically unfit" and for an explanation about my long blocks of sick leave.
If that were to happen, I would be in the difficult position of choosing between outing myself as transgender or leaving their questions unanswered.
There are high suicide and murder rates in the LGBTIQAP+ community worldwide, and in some countries people can be jailed - even legally killed - for being who they are.
LGBTIQAP+ people in Australia and New Zealand still experience verbal and physical attacks and even here, we worry about losing our jobs or not getting a new job because of our sexuality and/or our gender identity.
ANZ's new policy gives us the freedom to bring our whole selves to work.
We can be more creative and collaborative when we don't have to hide who we are.
This is a step in the right direction to a more inclusive, accepting and productive workplace and society.